Kate peered at the blue-and-white stick. Brown eyes anxious with worry were now bright with surprise as she gazed at the window on the blue and white stick—PREGNANT.
She’d had been sick on and off for days, but since it was September, she surmised she was coming down with the flu. That is, until one of her co-workers brought sushi for lunch and the smell hit her with such revulsion that she ran to the restroom to throw up.
Shaken, she left work early, but not before stopping at the local pharmacy and aimed for the medicine aisle to take home. Walking the aisles, she stopped where they sold birth control, condoms and… she noticed the home pregnancy kits on neat shelves. Her stomach twisted as she scanned the wide variety of test kits. Kate forced herself to choose one.
And now, here she was, in the bathroom of her apartment within the bed-and-breakfast inn she called home for the last few months, facing a life changing event.
She stepped out of the bathroom onto the small hallway, her eyes distant, dreamy, as she stopped in her tiny kitchen.
I’m… She looked down at herself at the elegant white blouse she still wore from work, her flat stomach that just hours before seemed to give her grief. For not having an appetite this morning, now empty, its grumblings had a whole new meaning now. She was with child.
Her breathing was the only sound in the still room as Kate placed a hand on her abdomen with wonder and curiosity. Warmth filled her chest coursing through her body down to her toes bringing life into them as her mind repeated the sentence over and over. She looked up and gazed out the window at the bright noon sky and smiled.
“I have to tell Nolan.”
Nolan Roth stared outward to the grand expanse of his backyard with a smile as he admired the evergreen forest that surrounded his three-story mansion. The day was set perfect as if taken from a scene of a classic book, despite the heat and summer showers because in five hours he would see her. His smile lifted as he thought of Kate after being away for a business trip, sealing deals with potential investors, shaking hands with clients who he called partners in the world of enterprise.
He had a way of getting what he wanted in the business of finance. He climbed the ladder, starting small with an idea he grew with his own blood, sweat, and tears until he became the first, and youngest self-made millionaire in the states. His face was on the cover of every business magazine after being interviewed by top journalists on how and what made him successful.
But to the folks of the small town he had called home, he was just Nolan. Kind, generous, helpful, intelligent Nolan. The small town adopted when the city life grew too confining, needed a place where he wasn’t revered but, treated equally.
He pushed away his black bangs, his mind still on the woman who brought a smile to his face ever since he met her just six months ago. It had been a normal day. The Easter holiday passed, and the promise of spring was right around the corner. Nolan was running errands in town talking merrily to a few friends when he saw her. Kate, struggling to lift a rather large box into the back of her minivan. Seeing a new face amongst so much old, he hurried to help her. He remembered her face full of surprise when she saw him, her brown eyes widen with gratitude as together they lifted the heavy box into her trunk.
He could remember her trembling voice to this day.
Nolan nodded, smiling as he said, “You’re welcome,” getting a good look at the pretty woman with straight black hair and eyes that sparkled in the sun. “It’s a lot for you to take on by yourself.”
“I don’t mind. I want to make a good impression for my boss.”
He nodded. “I never seen you before.”
“I just moved here three days ago, and oh! I’m sorry.” She outstretched her right hand. “I’m Kate.”
He smiled as he lifted his own hand. “I’m Nolan. Nice to meet you, Kate.”
As Nolan turned from the window of his bedroom and walked into the hall thinking of the plans for the evening with Kate, and the doorbell rang.
That’s strange. Kate isn’t supposed to be here until eight. He pondered a moment why she would show up so early, not that he minded it. He hurried downstairs with hope in his heart.
Excitement had him flinging open the door, but who was on the other side had his throat going dry and stepping back.
Kate drove quietly down a winding road her, eyes focus on what was in front of her, but her mind was a whirl of emotions of the day’s events, inside she was giddy, afraid, but also excited about telling Nolan of her recent discovery: she, Kate, was with child.
How would Nolan react to this? They had only known each other for half a year; six months spent with whispered conversations under the stars of their dreams, her hopes, his accomplishments, the business he started on his own and the stories she worked on in hopes of being a published author. Kate would talk to Nolan daily ever since she got his number, it wasn’t until a month into their friendship did Nolan ask Kate out to dinner. Kate was nervous at first; but she accepted with butterflies in her stomach.
Butterflies were in her stomach now when Kate made a turn into the driveway of a white mansion darkening against the setting sun, breathing in deeply to calm the nerves and surprise igniting within her.
When Nolan said he had a surprise for me. Kate thought. I didn’t expect it would be his giant mansion. Kate half smile, half grimaced as her nerves made her stomach twist. Placing a hand upon her stomach she killed the engine, looking up warily at the house.
What other secrets are you hiding from me? She thought with a wry smile; remembering when he had surprised her with an invitation to his home. Kate had thought he lived in the city, since his job was located there. Kate checked her reflection in the rear-view mirror, brushing down her hair making it neat before she unbuckled her seatbelt and opened the door to the warm September evening. Night crickets chirped as Kate walked on gravel, her feet crunching on stone as her eyes traveled to the large door, she rang the bell. A loud trill echoed from within.
Kate’s eyes wandered from the manicured bushes to the large fountain that burbled happily. The front door opened revealing a maid.
“Yes, may I help you?” she asked.
“Good evening ma’am,” she said. “I’m sorry to bother you but I’m here to see Nolan.”
“Yes. He had invited me to come here I—this is where Nolan live?” Kate started to feel nervous that she was in the wrong house.
“No, this is Allen Roth’s house.” Said the maid she eyed Kate up and down. “Who are you?”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Kate lifted a hand. “I’m Kate Alma.” The woman did not shake her hand instead she said.
“What is your business here?” Kate was surprised by the serious tone, she stammered.
“Nolan invited me to his home yesterday,” Kate placed a hand on her middle. “I have something important to tell him.” The maid nodded once, then opened the door fully.
“Please come in.” she said respectfully. Kate obeyed with a ‘Thank you’ before gaping at the large space. It was a big as the bed and breakfast she was staying in. Kate stared in awe at the large staircase that led to who knew where.
“This way please.” Kate started, waking up from her ogling.
“Yes, of course.” Kate followed the maid past the grand staircase and a hall until coming to a stop at a large sliding door. The maid pushed it to the side revealing to Kate a beautiful parlor with two matching maroon sofa that she sat down to the maid instruction.
“I will get Mr. Roth. She said before leaving the room. Kate stared in awe at the room amazed by Nolan’s taste in fine arts and brands.
He never strikes me as tasteful. Kate thought, only to frown looking down at her palms. I thought I knew Nolan, but he seems to always surprise me. She smiled wistfully, thinking of her child. I hope he would like the surprise I have for him. The sound of fast footsteps made Kate look up rising to her feet, hiding her concern with a smile as she saw the door slide apart revealing a breathless Nolan.
“Nolan.” She breathed. Nolan did not respond instead he slid the door behind him with his hand, his eyes were wide with emotion Kate had never seen before.
“What are you doing here!” Kate blinked, taking a step forward.
“You invited me to your home, remember?” Kate spoke she was surprised to hear the accusation in his voice and her own hesitation.
“You invited me for movie night and--
“Kate,” Nolan spoke in a low voice. “You have to leave.” Kate started with surprise.
“You can’t be here Kate.” Nolan took a deliberate step his face hard. “You should have never come.” Kate looked at him shocked, hurt.
“You invited me Nolan.” She said. “If you didn’t want me to come you should have called and cancelled our date--
“Shh!” Nolan stepped forward grasping both her arms.
“You can’t be here Kate!” he spoke there was anger in his voice but his face, looked scared.
“I-I had to see you!” Kate gasped looking at him with fear for the first time. “N-Nolan, what’s wrong?! Y-you’re scaring me!”
“Why did you come here?!” he demanded.
“I needed to tell you something important.” Kate gasped. “N-Nolan Y-You’re hurting me.” Nolan let go stepping back as if Kate was made of acid, lifting a hand he pushed back his hair, Kate noticed that he was trembling.
“Nolan?” she breathed. Nolan let out a groan letting of his hair he laid his hand on his face. Kate took a hesitant step forward. “Nolan, wh-what’s wrong?” Nolan did not respond just look at her with one eye that looked wild.
“Please tell me what’s wrong?” Kate felt the sting of tears in her eyes as she looked at Nolan. “If something is wrong let me help you I… if something happened you could have called me, I wouldn’t be upset but… something happened today, and I just couldn’t wait to tell you.”
“What is it?” Kate saw Nolan his hand pulled from his face as he stared at her, the look he gave her made her look down sheepishly.
“I’m pregnant.” Kate whispered.
Silence filled the room with sudden cold.
“Y-You’re what…?” Kate looked up slowly her expression somber.
“I’m pregnant.” She repeated. Nolan didn’t answer for a long moment, he just stared at Kate.
“I…I just found out today.” Kate spoke. “I hadn’t been feeling well these past weeks and I…” she shrugged halfheartedly. “I was going to tell you when I…”
“Kate.” Nolan breathed. Kate placed a hand on her middle.
“I’m sorry,” Kate whispered. “I…I’ll leave.”
“Nolan!!?” Kate started at the new voice she looked up to see Nolan stiffen, just as the door slid open revealing a tall woman with creamy pale skin blond hair and green eyes, carrying a baby with her same complexion and… the woman looked at Kate first seeing this stranger in her lovely abode. Her face frowned.
“Who are you?” she demanded. Kate had no answer, her eyes were wide as she stared at the beautiful woman. Nolan looked down wishing this day would never come. Kate half turned to look at him, stunned, and…
“Nolan.” She whispered.
“Nolan?!” the woman spoke just as the baby lifted her tiny arms and chirped.
Kate felt as if she was punched in the stomach. Pain crossed her features her throat felt numb her body heavy and her heart… Kate ran out the room leaving a slight breeze past Nolan and…